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A fun physical activity that teaches students about how their bodies react to different dinner foods

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, dinner

Description: Students move or freeze depending on whether a healthy or unhealthy dinner food is named.
Objective: Students will distinguish between "go" (healthy) and "slow" (less healthy) dinner foods.
  1. Ask the students to stand against a wall facing you.
  2. Review what makes a food a "go" food vs. a "slow" food. ("Go" foods help their bodies go and grow. "Slow" foods are high in added sugar and fat and can slow their bodies down.)
  3. Remind them that although sugar can make them feel excited at first, it will make them feel very tired after a while.
  4. Ask for a few examples of both "go" and "slow" lunch foods (see below for ideas).
  5. Explain that you are going to play "'Go' Food/'Slow' Food" again, but this time with dinner foods.
  6. Call out the dinner foods listed below in a random order. Start the game with a "go" food.
  7. If the students think a food is a "go" dinner food they should jog (or skip or hop) toward you at the other end of the room. If they think a food is a "slow" dinner food, they should freeze in place.
  8. If a student moves after a "slow" food is called or freezes when a "go" food is called, they must go back to the start.
  9. If time permits, review some foods and their "go" or "slow" classifications with the class.

Although all foods can fit into a healthy eating plan in moderation, it is important to reinforce that healthier foods give the body more energy to play and grow. "Junk foods," (processed foods high in fat and added sugar), contain a significant amount of calories but add very little nutrition to kids’ diets.

It is important to connect kids with their food and get them thinking about food less in terms of "good" and "gross" and more in terms of "healthy" and "less healthy" (or "go" and "slow").

Healthy ("Go") Dinner Foods and Drinks:

  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • brown rice
  • black beans
  • grilled tuna
  • corn
  • green beans
  • mushrooms
  • snap peas
  • salads
  • tofu
  • watermelon
  • yogurt
  • zucchini
  • baked potatoes
  • steamed broccoli
  • steamed cauliflower
  • carrot sticks
  • grilled chicken
  • grilled turkey
  • grilled salmon
  • low-fat macaroni and cheese
  • low-fat milk
  • whole-grain (brown) noodles
  • low-fat vegetable pizza
  • turkey sausage
  • corn or whole wheat tortillas
  • vegetable burgers

Less Healthy ("Slow") Dinner Foods and Drinks:

  • hamburgers
  • hot dogs
  • french fries
  • creamy soups
  • soft drinks
  • cookies
  • refried beans
  • fried chicken
  • fried fish sticks
  • high fat pepperoni pizza
  • General Tso's chicken
  • sweet and sour chicken

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.5.1, 1.5.2, 5.5.5, 7.5.1, 7.5.2
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.5-8.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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